BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Twins counterpart Rocco Baldelli had a message for him as their three-game series concluded on Thursday: See you in a month.
It may sound like wishful thinking, but Cora made it clear before the series opener against the Yankees on Friday night that he's not giving up on the season, even if the math makes a return to the playoffs highly improbable.
He told his team as much in a series of individual conversations on Friday afternoon.
"Well, like I told the guys today, I know where we at, I know the odds are against us but whatever percent chances we have, we still have a chance to play [the Yankees] in October – as of now," Cora said. "So let's not get ahead of ourselves. We're still hungry. We know where we're at and for everything I heard around the league and whoever we play, Rocco Baldelli told me, I'll see you in a month. I don't think he's planning on going on vacation to see me."
The Red Sox opened Friday trailing the A's by 6.5 games for the second wild-card spot with only 22 games remaining. They must also leapfrog the Indians, who stood a game out of the playoffs before Friday's games.
So what gives Cora confidence that his team can suddenly turn it on when that has yet to happen all season?
"I know we haven't played well, but we're still talented," he said. "We're still good. We've still got two weeks. We can get on a run, although you guys don't believe me, but I feel that way. I told the guys today, let's do what we have to do this weekend. We've got to win the series. And we know we have to keep winning series, but if we make it and we play that [wild-card] game, I don't think too many people would like to match up with us in a playoff series. And that's a fact.
Because we're that talented. They're good, Houston is good, Minnesota is good, Cleveland is good, the A's are good. We're good, too. We haven't been consistent, obviously. But as far as talent, we're still one of the best teams in the big leagues. The thing is, we haven't proved it, that's the difference."
Needless to say, they're running out of time to make that point in any meaningful way.
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